A sinkhole caused a section of a Florida resort villa near Disney World to partially collapse Monday, while another section was sinking, authorities said.
About 30 percent of the three-story structure collapsed before dawn, Lake County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Tony Cuellar said. The villa at the Summer Bay Resort had been evacuated, and no injuries were reported.
The sinkhole was about 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) in diameter, Cuellar said.
The villa houses 24 units, and about 20 people had been staying in it, Cuellar said.
Authorities were called to the scene, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Disney World, late Sunday and found that the building was making popping sounds and windows were breaking.
Paul Caldwell, the development’s president, said a window popped in one of the rooms late Sunday. A woman ran outside and found a security guard. Another window popped, and a decision was made to immediately evacuate the building, he said.
Caldwell said the resort was built about 15 years ago and had undergone geologic testing at the time that showed the ground to be stable.
A large crack was visible at the building’s base.
A guest, Maggie Ghamry, said that when she first heard the noises, she thought it might be kids running down the hall.
“Next thing I know, people are yelling, ‘Get out of the building, get out of the building,”‘ she told ABC.
Florida has a long problem with sinkholes, which cause millions of dollars in damage annually. On March 1, a sinkhole underneath a house swallowed a man who was in his bed. His body was never recovered.
But such fatalities and injuries are rare, and most sinkholes are small. Sinkholes can develop quickly or slowly over time.
The state sits on limestone, a porous rock that easily dissolves in water, with a layer of clay on top. The clay is thicker in some locations, making them even more prone to sinkholes.
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